India Says No Military Buildup After US Nuclear Deal
New Delhi (AFP) Jul 31, 2007
India stressed Friday an operating agreement with the United States on a landmark nuclear deal will not fuel a nuclear weapons build up in the South Asia nation. Top Indian officials said the agreement, announced earlier Friday, dealt exclusively with generating much-needed energy to fuel the nation's fast-growing economy. "We have got a deal... a very good deal," said national security advisor M.K. Narayanan who headed India's delegation to Washington earlier this week for talks to seal the agreement.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said earlier Friday in a statement that the so-called "123 agreement," which comes after years of talks between the two nations, had been adopted.
Rice did not provide details of the accord which according to reports in the US had gone beyond the terms approved by the US Congress.
Lawmakers there have threatened to block the deal if it sidestepped safeguards to prevent military uses of the technology.
In December, Congress gave approval to landmark legislation allowing US export of civilian nuclear fuel and technology to India for the first time in 30 years.
It was aimed at reversing three decades of sanctions on India for its nuclear tests. India announced a moratorium on testing weapons in May 1998 but has not signed the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty.
Narayanan told a press conference that the deal was not an opportunity for India to increase its nuclear arsenal.
"I think it's time certain countries overcame the belief that we are interested in proliferation," Narayanan said in New Delhi.
He was responding to a question about whether imported fuel under the deal would free up India's domestic supplies for nuclear weapons.
"If we need additionalities as far as our strategic stockpile is concerned we know how to do it... We are not using it (the deal) as an excuse to enhance our strategic capabilities."
Indian foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon, also part of this week's delegation, said the accord was about "cooperation in civil nuclear energy."
Narayanan said India had not given away any of its strategic rights in response to domestic critics who fear the deal would cap India's military capabilities and close options for conducting nuclear tests.
"If anything we have enhanced our rights," he said.
He added that the text contained no reference to "detonation."
"What happens in the event of a test we will come to that later," he said.
The India-US nuclear deal has to be cleared by the Indian parliament and the US Congress before it can be implemented.
India will also have to separate nuclear facilities for civilian and military use and set up a regime of international inspections to allay concerns that material and technology received could be diverted to boost its nuclear weapons arsenal.
Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was due to attend a Southeast Asian forum meeting in coming days, would hold talks with his Chinese counterpart on the deal, foreign secretary Menon said.
Source: Agence France-Presse
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Washington (AFP) July 29, 2007
Europe under a new generation of leaders is taking a more muscular role in diplomacy while the enfeebled US administration struggles with Iraq, foreign-policy experts say. Britain, France and Germany are all now under new leadership compared to four years ago, when the United States plunged transatlantic relations into their worst crisis for decades with its invasion of Iraq.
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